Parties respond to debt deal with mix of relief, concern and outrage

The leaders of the two main parties in the coalition government welcomed the agreement as ?of historic significance.?

Conservative New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, whose party is leading in the polls, said the deal safeguarded the country?s solvency and future in Europe while also paving the way for early elections, expected in April. ?The decision eliminates the risk of bankruptcy, secures its prospects within Europe, creates the possibility for debt to become sustainable, and opens the road for elections,? Samaras said from Nicosia, where he was on an official visit.

Socialist PASOK chief and former Premier George Papandreou said the deal has ?vindicated? the efforts of Greek authorities. ?The road now opens for the creation of all the necessary conditions for a new growth effort which the country needs so badly,? Papandreou said. He added that the deal meant ?the sacrifices of the Greek people will not will not be in vain but will pay off.?

Greek Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga condemned the agreement as bringing the ?orderly default of the country and the disorderly default of society,? adding that it was nothing more than a temporary solution for Greece.

The right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, which left the unity government earlier this month, dismissed the deal as ineffective, with party leader Giorgos Karatzaferis remarking, ?We have been internationally humiliated and we will not be able to return to the markets until 2020.?

Alexis Tsipras, head of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), said ?it is clear that this agreement exclusively concerns and binds those who signed it,? adding that ?it is not signed by the Greek people. It is signed by a government acting in its name that has no legitimacy.?

Fotis Kouvelis, leader of the Democratic Left, said the deal ignored the country?s growth prospects, expressing fears that new austerity measures would be demanded before long.

Dora Bakoyannis, the former conservative foreign minister who heads the centrist Democratic Alliance, was one more upbeat. ?Europe, though belatedly, did its duty yesterday,? she said.